Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ArtsBuzz: Platt to leave Boca Symphonia after '09-'10 season

Conductor Alexander Platt.

By Greg Stepanich

Alexander Platt, principal conductor of the Boca Raton Symphonia, said today he will be leaving the orchestra at the end of the upcoming season.

Platt, 43, has been chief conductor of the chamber orchestra since October 2007.

In a letter today to Symphonia board members, Platt said it was time for him to pay attention to his increasing number of engagements in New York and the Midwest, where he heads two other orchestras and is resident conductor of the Chicago Opera Theater.

"2009-10 will mark three seasons as your Principal Conductor -- a tenure which, by the standards of the industry, is completely normal for this kind of non-music-director, chief-conductor position, and I firmly believe that after this season it will be best for both parties to move on in different directions," Platt wrote. 

Platt added that he hopes his replacement will be able to live at least part of the year in Boca Raton, and "do the 'retail politics' that are such a vital part of such a post," or that the orchestra instead go with a series of guest conductors, serving as a training ground for new talent. 

Either way, he wrote, he hopes to appear with the orchestra in a guest-conducting role in the 2010-11 season.

The Boca Symphonia was founded in 2004 after the collapse the year before of the Florida Philharmonic. Platt's tenure has been notable for its inventive programming, and the upcoming season continues in that mode with music by four American composers (Copland, Barber, Rorem, Kernis), and rarities by Schubert and Mendelssohn. 

The first concert is set for Sunday, Nov. 8, and will feature violinist Tim Fain in the Violin Concerto No. 5 (in A, K. 219), of Mozart, and the Air for Violin of Aaron Jay Kernis. Also on the program are Rossini's La Scala di Seta overture and the Mendelssohn Second Symphony (in B-flat, Op. 52), with the composer's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage overture as the last movement in place of the symphony's original massive choral finale.

"I was surprised; that was my first reaction," said Marshall Turkin, who founded the group and now serves as one of its consultants. "My second reaction was regret."

Current board members were unavailable for comment early this morning.

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